>Discipline in 4.0.1

>While I decided to ditch the Holy paladin part of the blog, I decided to pick up the Discipline part of being a priest.  Discipline and Holy priests are similar, but yet are so different in play style.  Today we’ll talk about the Discipline changes coming in Cataclysm and with patch 4.0.1.

Blizzard’s definition of a Discipline priest:

Uses magic to shield allies from taking damage as well as heal their wounds.

That’s a pretty good definition of what a Disc priest currently does, and will continue to do in the upcoming expansion.

In current content, Discipline priests are considered more to be tank healers than raid healers.  They have the most powerful damage mitigation abilities in the game through spells like Power Word: Shield and talents like Divine Aegis.  This is also what makes them more preferable than Holy priests in a PvP environment.  And while their damage mitigation abilities are unrivaled by any other classes, their healing throughput is currently the lowest of any other healer in the game.  Patch 4.0.1 will rectify the throughput issue, placing Disc priests closer in line with other healing classes.  Blizzard doesn’t want Disc priests to have to rely solely on shields to heal party and raid members.

Talent Tree

All talent trees have been revamped, and the Discipline tree is no exception.  Players must now put 31 points into 1 tree before accessing another.  There are also passive abilities that are tied into each tree as well as a mastery to help bolster each trees unique playing style.  Here’s an overview of the new talents and abilities we expect to see in the upcoming patch.

Improved Power Word: Shield– A straight increase to our most powerful shield.

Twin Disciplines– A talent that has been buffed slightly from its current iteration.

Mental Agility– Unchanged and moved to tier one.

Evangelism– A completely new and unique talent to priests.  This goes with the “Smite to heal” approach that I will talk about a little later.

Archangel– Works in tandem with Evangelism.  Part of the “Smite to heal” spec that also helps restore mana.

Inner Sanctum– A talent that seems more useful in PvP, but might be useful with Inner Will for getting out of those fires faster.

Soul Warding– Reduces the cool down of Power Word: Shield from 3 seconds to 1 second.  A powerful talent for shield spammers.

Renewed Hope– This talent has been buffed by quite a bit from its current iteration on live servers.  The fact that it is available through Grace and Weakened Soul is a huge benefit.

Power Infusion– Unchanged from live servers.

Atonement–  The corner stone of the “Smite to heal” spec.  When you Smite an enemy, you heal a friendly party/raid member with the lowest health for 50/100% of the damage done.  Most heals should be going to the tank as long as dps doesn’t pull aggro, but this should not be used reliably.  Smite should only be used when an ally isn’t in serious need of healing.

Inner Focus– It’s been changed a bit.  It now has a 45 sec cool down, but it only works with Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing.  Sorry guys, no more “free” Divine Hymn‘s for you!

Rapture– The Disc priests greatest mana regen tool has been reworked to proc every 6 seconds instead of every 12 seconds.

Borrowed Time– This talent use to increase the spell power scale of Power Word: Shield.  Since the scaling has been built into our Mastery, it now only provides the haste buff.

Reflective Shield– Unchanged from live servers.

Strength of Soul– A new and powerful talent that allows us to bubble more often.

Divine Aegis– Unchanged.  Still the most powerful mitigation talent in the game although Blizzard thought it was so great that they gave Holy paladins a Mastery similar to it.

Pain Suppression– Our “oh ****” button cool down.  It is unchanged, but on a longer cool down.

Train of Thought– A nice addition to our “Smite to Heal” spec.  Reducing the cool down on Penance makes it that much more powerful.

Focused Will– A revamped PvP talent.  It lost it’s crit chance, so it won’t see any love in any PvE builds.

Grace– This talent has been buffed to increase our throughput.  It now stacks 3 times for a total of 12%.

Power Word: Barrier– Our new 31-point spell and the crown jewel of the Discipline tree.  It’s on a somewhat lengthy 3 minute cool down but it can be a raid saver if used properly.

Build

31/10/0 would be the build I would use at level 85.  This build is centered around Evangelism and Atonement.  Surge of Light also will proc a fair amount of time due to keeping up Evangelism stacks.  Glyph of Divine Accuracy, Glyph of Smite, Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, and Glyph of Flash Heal are mandatory, while Glyph of Dispel Magic is more of a filler glyph.

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